Nov 23

When a person engages in distracted or reckless driving, there is a substantial likelihood of physical injury or property damage. Illinois has enacted laws and penalties against both distracted and reckless driving.

Distracted Driving in Illinois

Illinois laws and penalties concerning distracted driving appear in 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2.  Essentially, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle on Illinois roads while using an electronic communication device, such as a cell phone or mobile computer.

That being said, drivers can utilize certain integrated tools — such as global positioning systems or hands-free Bluetooth devices — without violating Illinois law. Additionally, drivers can use an electronic communication device in limited circumstances, including but not limited to:

  • A law enforcement agent who uses an electronic communication device in the performance of official duties;
  • A driver who uses an electronic communication device to report an emergency to the appropriate authorities;
  • A first responder who uses an electronic communication device to navigate toward an emergency situation;
  • A driver who uses an electronic communication device while parked on the shoulder of a road or highway;
  • A truck driver uses a permanently installed electronic communication device that conforms to legal specifications; and
  • A driver who uses an electronic communication device when traffic is obstructed and the vehicle is in neutral or park.

In most cases, a person who commits distracted driving is only subject to a fine. Though the amount changes based on the number of offenses. For example, the:

  • First offense results in a $75 fine;
  • Second offense results in a $100 fine;
  • Third offense results in a $125 fine; and
  • Fourth or subsequent offense results in a $150 fine;

Reckless Driving in Illinois

Illinois laws and penalties concerning reckless driving appear in 625 ILCS 5/11-503. There are essentially two different types of reckless driving in Illinois. It qualifies as reckless driving if a person:

  • Operates any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property; or
  • Intentionally sends their vehicle airborne using an incline, railroad crossing, bridge approach or hill.

Generally speaking, Illinois classifies reckless driving as a Class A misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the offender faces the possibility of up to 364 days in jail, $2,500 in criminal fines and 24 months of probation.

That being said, reckless driving can become a felony offense. If a driver commits reckless driving and causes injury to a child or a crossing guard, then it qualifies as a Class 4 felony. At that level, a conviction can result in one to three years in prison, $25,000 in criminal fines and 30 months of probation.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by calling (309) 827-4300, emailing johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Marlon Lara)